Only four women remain in contention to win the first WTA 1000 title of the year at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. None of them have triumphed on this part of continent before, but who will advance into Saturday’s final?
WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Semifinal Predictions
Jil Teichmann vs Barbora Krejcikova
Head-to-head: Teichmann 0-1 Krejcikova
Jil Teichmann and Coco Gauff cannot avoid each other this season. We are only three months into the new season and they have played three times. This time, it was the Swiss left-hander who turned the tables on the young American. Teichmann’s 6-3 6-3 win over Gauff in the quarterfinals was built on discipline and perseverance. The World No.54 needed to be patient when opportunities came knocking. She fashioned five break point chances, and converted three, decisively. Teichmann also stayed solid from the baseline, snuffing out three chances for Gauff to break back in the opening exchanges of the second set.
We are guaranteed an unseeded finalist in Dubai, but none of us saw Barbora Krejcikova surging so rapidly on the singles court. The Czech has been tearing the cover off the ball, beating seasoned campaigners and former Grand Slam winners. In her quarterfinal, she demolished Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-0 6-2, completing the whitewash in just 62 minutes.
Both players are yet to drop a set, which makes this even more compelling. A look at the serving numbers, and this becomes even more difficult to call. Teichmann has been broken once in four matches and her forehand is the money shot. The Swiss is supremely confident and has the bigger weapons to combat Krejcikova’s unconventional brand of tennis.
Prediction: Teichmann in 3
Garbine Muguruza vs Elise Mertens
Head-to-head: Muguruza 1-0 Mertens
The last winner of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Simona Halep, saved match point en route to her title success in 2020. This time, the stars seem to align for Elise Mertens to pull off a similar feat. The Belgian had one foot out of the tournament when she trailed in-form Jessica Pegula 5-7 2-5 in the quarterfinals. However, Mertens staged an extraordinary comeback, fending off three match points and winning 11 games in a row. She sets up a last four showdown against Garbine Mugurza.
Muguruza picked up her 16th match win of the season in beating Aryna Sabalenka for the second successive week. But she hasn’t exactly put a cherry on top of this sizzling run of form. With two runner-up finishes in 2021, the Spaniard’s title drought stretches to a second year. But she has looked like a player with a point to prove in recent weeks. Muguruza holds all the cards here, and she shouldn’t fall away like Pegula did. If she can produce another of her trademark blistering starts, Mertens could have her work cut out.
Prediction: Muguruza in 2
Main Photo from Getty.